Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report, Wednesday

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
MARCH 3, 2004




British FM Straw: Reforms in Turkey cannot be reversed -
Erdogan acknowledges exploitation of religion was wrong -
Shiite celebrations in Iraq overshadowed by bombs - Hurriyet
Ashura disaster in Karbala - Sabah
Al-Qaida in Karbala: 182 Dead - Milliyet
Speaker of EU Parliament: Time to implement reforms -
Cox: Europe views Leyla Zana as a symbol - Aksam
Grossman shows Turkey as a model - Turkiye

Bloody day in Iraq: 182 Dead - Radikal
Weston remarks on referenda upset Denktas - Radikal
Bloody attacks in Iraq's Shiite region - Cumhuriyet
Civil war brewing in Iraq -Yeni Safak


Grossman continues tour on Greater Middle East: Dailies
report that State Department Undersecretary Marc Grossman,
during his visit to Egypt, said that Turkey could be an
important model for the Arab world. Grossman stressed the
democratic and Muslim characteristics of Turkey, and drew
attention to Turkey's strong ties with the West and the rest
of the world. "Zaman" reports, however, that Grossman
failed to get from the Egyptians the support he had sought
for the U.S. Greater Middle East initiative.

MFA U/S Ziyal due in Israel: MFA Undersecretary Ambassador
Ugur Ziyal will be in Israel today and tomorrow for regular
political consultations. Papers speculate that Turkey's
prospective role as mediator between Israel and Syria will
be discussed. "Radikal" notes the "coincidence" that Ziyal
is going to Israel on the eve of Grossman's visit to Ankara.

Cyprus: The Cypriot sides continued discussions about a bi-
zonal political structure during Tuesday's Cyprus talks,
papers report, but the sides once again failed to reach
agreement. TRNC leader Denktas complained that the Greek
Cypriots have rejected all proposals made by the Turkish
side, claiming that the proposed changes are inconsistent
with the Annan Plan. Denktas criticized US Special Cyprus
Coordinator Weston for warning Cypriots that those who would
reject the plan in a referendum will "pay a heavy price."
Denktas characterized Weston's comments as "unacceptable
pressure and a threat." Meanwhile, TRNC leaders Mehmet Ali
Talat and Serdar Denktas were `summoned' to Ankara by the
MFA on Tuesday. Talat said that the Turkish side aimed at
filling in all the blanks so that there are no issues left
to be decided after Turkey and Greece join the negotiations
on March 21. Foreign Minister Gul said the people of Cyprus
would make the final decision regarding the future of the
island. :Hurriyet" reports that the Turkish Cypriot side is
working to disrupt Greek Cypriot `maneuvers' to stall the
Cyprus talks until Greek Cyprus joins the EU on May 1.
Meanwhile, "Sabah" claims that Prime Minister Erdogan is
planning a `surprise' visit to Greece in the coming days.

Greater Middle East Initiative; Cyprus

"Turkey and GME project"
Cuneyt Ulsever opined in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (3/3):
"I don't think Turkey will be the most important part of the
Greater Middle East initiative. . It is true that Turkey is
the most powerful country in the region, and that it stands
close to the West, particularly to the US. . Turkey is
neither the center, nor a significant element of the GME
project - an initiative which has been developed without the
inclusion of Turkey. The GME is a project launched for the
Arab world. That said, however, Turkey may contribute to
some specific projects within the GME framework."

"Turkey in the GME"
Dr. Husnu Mahalli wrote in the pro-Islamic/opinion-maker
"Yeni Safak" (3/3): "FM Gul said on TV last Sunday that
Turkey would neither be a tool, nor a contractor of the US
Greater Middle East project. He added that the GME
initiative does not stand a chance unless the Palestine
problem is resolved. . PM Erdogan has recently said that
the GME should be perceived as a project of cultures and
civilizations, not merely a geographical initiative. If not
approved by countries in the region, the GME initiative has
no chance, Erdogan stressed. Erdogan strongly denounced the
`Wall of Shame' put up by Israel. . Despite efforts by
Washington to make Turkey, together with Israel, the most
important element of the GME project, Erdogan and Gul have
not changed their well-known attitudes. Those who think
that the AK Party will turn a blind eye to the sufferings of
the people of Palestine are wrong. Ankara's attitude
regarding the issue is more honorable than many Arab
administrations. . Turkey has a responsibility toward the
people of Palestine. . Turkey took a significant decision
by rejecting the March 1 troops decree, and in doing so,
Turkey has become the leader of its own GME initiative.
Americans are aware of this fact, which is why they are
anxious to make Turkey a player in the US GME project."

"Greater Middle East"
Hasan Cemal observed in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/3):
"In 1997, a `Project for a New American Century' was
launched in coordination with the Israeli lobby in
Washington. Written by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and the
chief ideologue of the Neo-Cons, Bernard Lewis, the project
was seeking an answer to the question of how the US could
rule the world. This group in the US Administration `pushed
the button' on the project following the election of George
Bush and the painful events of 9/11. . Saddam was toppled
and has been captured, but Iraq is still far from being
stable. There is no even a light at the end of the tunnel
regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How can the
Greater Middle East project become a reality as long as
these two problems exist? How can the region's regimes and
leaders, who regard regime changes, freedom and democracy as
the biggest threats to their existence, ever accept the GME
project while the situation in Iraq and Palestine remains
the same? . The project looks good on paper. However, too
many question marks rise if you delve more deeply into the
issue." EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

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